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(MassLive)   Fewer people are contesting traffic tickets since Massachusetts started charging a fee to plead not guilty   (masslive.com) divider line 123
    More: Obvious, Massachusetts, Registry of Motor Vehicles, Supreme Judicial Court, small claims court, fees, Insurance Board of Appeals, trial courts  
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8260 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Jun 2012 at 10:03 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-24 08:25:08 AM
Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

That's the best part.
 
2012-06-24 08:46:59 AM
This is why I'm glad that I didn't go to University in Massachusetts. When I came to visit, years later, I was shocked by the absurdity of the commonwealth.

Sadly, I have to deal Massholes on a daily basis now.

/I miss Ohio
 
2012-06-24 08:53:59 AM

St_Francis_P: Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

That's the best part.


Not to delve into hyperbole here, but doesn't that mean a law enforcement officer can guarantee revenue just by issuing a citation, no matter how ridiculous, leading to a cost/benefit analysis of whether to pay the ticket outright? Isn't this akin to jailing someone even after a not guilty jury verdict, just because they plead not guilty?
 
2012-06-24 08:59:54 AM

born_yesterday: St_Francis_P: Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

That's the best part.

Not to delve into hyperbole here, but doesn't that mean a law enforcement officer can guarantee revenue just by issuing a citation, no matter how ridiculous, leading to a cost/benefit analysis of whether to pay the ticket outright? Isn't this akin to jailing someone even after a not guilty jury verdict, just because they plead not guilty?


Not really. The fees don't cover the cost of the court. I didn't read the article, but do you get your money back if you are actually found not guilty?
 
2012-06-24 09:06:40 AM

EvilEgg: I didn't read the article, but do you get your money back if you are actually found not guilty?


For a New Englander, you don't seem to understand a lot about Massachusetts
 
2012-06-24 09:07:20 AM

born_yesterday: St_Francis_P: Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

That's the best part.

Not to delve into hyperbole here, but doesn't that mean a law enforcement officer can guarantee revenue just by issuing a citation, no matter how ridiculous, leading to a cost/benefit analysis of whether to pay the ticket outright? Isn't this akin to jailing someone even after a not guilty jury verdict, just because they plead not guilty?


It's just the natural transition from "You have nothing to worry about if you're innocent" to "You have nothing to worry about if you can always avoid the police".
 
2012-06-24 09:30:04 AM
This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?
 
2012-06-24 10:08:56 AM

Aar1012: EvilEgg: I didn't read the article, but do you get your money back if you are actually found not guilty?

For a New Englander, you don't seem to understand a lot about MassTaxachusetts


That might help.

A friend here in NYC got his traffic ticket thrown out because he proved to the judge he fixed the problem in the time allotted by him. He still had to pay and $80 service fee.
 
2012-06-24 10:10:04 AM
GAT_00 [TotalFark]
2012-06-24 09:30:04 AM

This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?


yep.
 
2012-06-24 10:10:17 AM
well at least the rich can afford justice.
..
 
2012-06-24 10:11:03 AM

GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?


This.

And seriously, how is this not unconstitutional? If someone that was poor got a traffic ticket, wouldn't that be unfair to them since they couldn't afford the court cost?

Oh, and fark the police.
 
2012-06-24 10:11:31 AM

GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?


Just asking, but isn't it called Taxachusetes for a reason?

Doesn't it have one of the Highest tax systems in the nation?
 
2012-06-24 10:12:12 AM
Here's a simple solution: Bill the issuing officer for the court costs if the ticket is overturned.

The people will be happy because they wont be on the hook for expenses when they've done nothing wrong.
The courts will be happy because they get their money.
The police will be incentivised to only write good tickets.
 
2012-06-24 10:14:12 AM

machoprogrammer: And seriously, how is this not unconstitutional?


What constitutional right would this violate? Have you actually read the constitution?
 
2012-06-24 10:14:42 AM
sounds like here in maine. If you get a ticket for anything. your licence is suspended and you have to pay an extra 25.00 to the dmv to get it unsuspended after you pay off the ticket.
 
2012-06-24 10:16:59 AM
I don't know about Massachusetts, but down here the budget for the judicial branch has been cut by almost 30% in the last five years. Lots of lay-offs and some furlough days. Adding on a few fees here and there could minimize the impact, but the same legislature that cut our budget has to approve any additional fees.

Next fiscal year's budget is 8.6% smaller than this year's.Through some miracle of financing *snerk*, the legislature's budget was only cut by 2.3%.

Gee, I wonder how that happened?
 
2012-06-24 10:17:05 AM
www.ushmm.org

"To be fair, the legal principle of nulla poena sine lege is indeed protecting freedom - the freedom of dishonourable action; protecting citizens who aim to lead their lives in the morass stretching between the that which is legal and that which is illegal. That is, in the realm of unscrupulous wangling, the realm of thorough-paced rascals endowed with a wide knowledge of criminal law."

- Roland Freisler
 
2012-06-24 10:21:13 AM

Hermione_Granger: GAT_00 [TotalFark]
2012-06-24 09:30:04 AM

This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?

yep.


No and it is completely unconstitutional.

What do they do if you refuse to enter a plea? The right to remain silent was in response to church courts, where if you pled not guilty to be a catholic you were renouncing your (catholic) God and you surely did not want to plead guilty to a thought crime (believing the Catholic church was correct) and be burned or tortured.
 
2012-06-24 10:22:32 AM

TheZorker: GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?

Just asking, but isn't it called Taxachusetes for a reason?

Doesn't it have one of the Highest tax systems in the nation?


As an honorary Masshole from NYS, no.

Sales and income taxes are way lower, property taxes are lower, and no school tax.
 
2012-06-24 10:23:41 AM

GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?


I think there's more overlap between Tea Party and Sovereign Citizens than you realize.

The court costs bullshiat is about a 40/60 split for various states. The East and Midwest love screwing everyone, the South and West not so much.
 
2012-06-24 10:23:52 AM

Honest Bender: machoprogrammer: And seriously, how is this not unconstitutional?

What constitutional right would this violate? Have you actually read the constitution?


I'm going with Eighth Amendment. Innocent people should not be fined, so charging any fine at all to an innocent person is by definition excessive.
 
2012-06-24 10:24:43 AM

Honest Bender: Here's a simple solution: Bill the issuing officer for the court costs if the ticket is overturned.

The people will be happy because they wont be on the hook for expenses when they've done nothing wrong.
The courts will be happy because they get their money.
The police will be incentivised to only write good tickets.


You grossly over estimate judges' better nature.

However, if you are acquitted of a serious felony in Missouri (class A or B) the state does have to pay.
 
2012-06-24 10:25:50 AM

born_yesterday: St_Francis_P: Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

That's the best part.

Not to delve into hyperbole here, but doesn't that mean a law enforcement officer can guarantee revenue just by issuing a citation, no matter how ridiculous, leading to a cost/benefit analysis of whether to pay the ticket outright? Isn't this akin to jailing someone even after a not guilty jury verdict, just because they plead not guilty?


That's pretty much the case at least in MA. I lived there for 32 years and received many, many tickets. Some I even deserved! But I quickly figured out that challenging the iffy ones was pretty much a waste of a day. I had a cop profile us by waiting in a bar parking lot and then following us and pulling us over to see if I'd been drinking, which I wasn't. So I got a ticket for "merging too closely" as some part of "improper turning". He said I cut a guy off changing lanes. Me and the other 3 people in the car all disagreed and we all showed up to contest it, but I had to pay anyhow.

I think the way they should implement the justice system is that everyone gets a decent free lawyer regardless of their financial situation. If you're found innocent, the DA has to pay all of your costs including your time. No pleas. Everyone that the state feels has committed a crime gets a full trial.

This would mean the end of prison stuffing, rounding up the 'usual suspects', about 95% of the big time horseshiat in the judicial system, and it'd be a lot cheaper after the first round of DA's gets fired for costing more than they brought in.

Only very serious crimes with clear cut perpetrators would ever be arrested or charged. The iffy stuff would get soft pedaled until the DA was absolutely sure a jury would convict.

The judicial branch is also not a budget balancing tool. Voting in some politicians who understand the basic home budgeting techniques of spending only on important stuff and to stop spending when you're out of money would go a long ways towards improving things.

This has the same apparent mouth feel as charging your small kids to eat and sleep at your house because you blew the family budget on 50 cases of beer. Cut it out!
 
2012-06-24 10:26:48 AM
media.masslive.com

CSB:

Ran into something similar in Fort Collins a few years ago. I had backed into a street-side parking space. Got out of work to find a $25 ticket for illegal parking - my front tire was more than a foot from the curb. No shiat, I backed in because it was safer when pulling out into the crazy traffic zooming by the frat house. And just about every other car parked "legally" on the street had a front tire more than a foot from the curb. Plead my case to the city judge's biatch (a $25 surcharge for that) two weeks later - he said he agreed it was safer but that was the law. Said I could go to the judge but I'd have to pay a $50 surcharge for court costs, but the judge might dismiss the $25 ticket.

/keep us $afe.
 
2012-06-24 10:27:59 AM
Well, when your entire government and police are run by the mob, what do you expect?
 
2012-06-24 10:28:39 AM

Honest Bender: machoprogrammer: And seriously, how is this not unconstitutional?

What constitutional right would this violate? Have you actually read the constitution?


i'm not a lawyer - but maybe the fourth?
if you are not guilty of a crime how can they reasonable seize funds punitively?

also - there's really no need to be nasty. i'm sure there's no shortage of people whose first reaction to reading that headline was to question the legality of this policy.

at the very least it's a bit of a brow-raiser. no reason it can't be discussed.
 
2012-06-24 10:28:43 AM

EvilEgg: born_yesterday: St_Francis_P: Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

That's the best part.

Not to delve into hyperbole here, but doesn't that mean a law enforcement officer can guarantee revenue just by issuing a citation, no matter how ridiculous, leading to a cost/benefit analysis of whether to pay the ticket outright? Isn't this akin to jailing someone even after a not guilty jury verdict, just because they plead not guilty?

Not really. The fees don't cover the cost of the court. I didn't read the article, but do you get your money back if you are actually found not guilty?



Yes, but it's a $33.75 processing fee for administrative handling of your return funds. Plus tax.
 
2012-06-24 10:28:44 AM
Here's a simple solution: Bill the issuing officer for the court costs if the ticket is overturned.

Yeah, that'll definitely happen. But it might create even more legal tangles when the first cop they try it on tasers and arrests the court clerk.
 
2012-06-24 10:29:43 AM

GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those


You're confusing "fee for service" and "fee for fark-you-pay-me-anyway".
 
2012-06-24 10:31:53 AM

foxyshadis:
The East and Midwest love screwing everyone, the South and West not so much.


Yes, indeed. The South and West prefer to selectively screw.
 
2012-06-24 10:33:08 AM
And if every citizen turned around and told the state "F-U. We're not going to pay any tickets.", what would they do?
 
2012-06-24 10:34:10 AM

St_Francis_P: Last year, the court ruled that the fees were justified even if a motorist was found innocent of the ticketed offense.

That's the best part.


Good old liberals.
 
2012-06-24 10:35:04 AM

GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.

So, I'm curious. Is paying for court costs on a ticket, even if the officer doesn't show up and the charge is dismissed, normal everywhere?


In Knoxville, TN, if the officer doesn't show up, you have to come back on another date when the officer can show up. It's completely ludicrous.
 
2012-06-24 10:35:10 AM
Yeah. This is a good idea.
 
2012-06-24 10:35:45 AM

Gunderson: And if every citizen turned around and told the state "F-U. We're not going to pay any tickets.", what would they do?


Build more prisons and call it "Job creation", probably getting a lot of them re-elected...
 
2012-06-24 10:36:04 AM
Disregard. This fee is to appeal. You get your one trial in front of the magisgtrate. The fees are to appeal.
 
2012-06-24 10:37:13 AM

GAT_00: This is what happens when people start saying all taxes are bad - you get ridiculous fees everywhere. The anti-tax tards don't biatch about those, especially when attached to the court system. Everything has to be paid for somehow.


Look, if you can't afford the $75 it takes to appeal a ticket, you haven't earned the right to use the court system. Get a job and maybe you can get an appeal.

Why should taxpayers who don't even use the court system have to pay for it? If a private company was doing that we'd call it theft.
 
2012-06-24 10:37:26 AM
Clearly the solution is a larger, more intrusive government and bureaucracy. This will include higher taxes, but it will definitely be worth it.
 
2012-06-24 10:44:34 AM

italie: Gunderson: And if every citizen turned around and told the state "F-U. We're not going to pay any tickets.", what would they do?

Build more prisons and call it "Job creation", probably getting a lot of them re-elected...


Considering the new residents won't be voters anymore anyways.
 
2012-06-24 10:46:12 AM
What's next, plead guilty to murder or incur all court costs?
 
2012-06-24 10:46:23 AM

Honest Bender: Here's a simple solution: Bill the issuing officer for the court costs if the ticket is overturned.

The people will be happy because they wont be on the hook for expenses when they've done nothing wrong.
The courts will be happy because they get their money.
The police will be incentivised to only write good tickets.


That of course would be the sensible way to do it, but that never happens....
 
2012-06-24 10:47:54 AM

enry: Sales and income taxes are way lower,


When I moved to New Hampshire, I did a stint in retail. I worked at the front so I dealt with returns and questions. New Hampshire has no sales tax and I worked on the border between NH and Mass. I would love hearing the Mass residents either

1. Talking about how they're here to avoid the sales tax
2. Complaining about how we didn't have something because they drove from *Insert town that passes three different stores that has the product in stock* because they wanted to save on sales tax
3. Bought an item in Mass and wanted to return it and rebuy it to get their tax money back. (I always enjoyed telling them 'no' and seeing the look on their face when I said, point blank, that it was tax fraud

Whenever I would hear about the sales tax of Mass, I would shake my head since I knew that the 6.25% sales tax was NOTHING compared to my home state of Ohio. Ohio's state rate is 5.5% but the counties can add on to it. I'm surprised that Mass hasn't caught onto that.
 
2012-06-24 10:50:06 AM

Snarfangel: Honest Bender: machoprogrammer: And seriously, how is this not unconstitutional?

What constitutional right would this violate? Have you actually read the constitution?

I'm going with Eighth Amendment. Innocent people should not be fined, so charging any fine at all to an innocent person is by definition excessive.


Pathman: i'm not a lawyer - but maybe the fourth?
if you are not guilty of a crime how can they reasonable seize funds punitively?

also - there's really no need to be nasty. i'm sure there's no shortage of people whose first reaction to reading that headline was to question the legality of this policy.

at the very least it's a bit of a brow-raiser. no reason it can't be discussed.


IANAL either, but I suppose it could be argued that this constitutes a Bill of Attainder (Art I Sec 9) - punishing someone without a trial

And I would counter the "where is it prohibited" argument by saying that if someone thinks it is acceptable for the government, under color of authority, to charge someone with a crime, and then fine them because of that charge, even if they are innocent, then that person has a seriously strange way of determining what is fair play in government.
 
2012-06-24 10:50:56 AM
"Everything is Illegal in Massachusetts"
Link
 
2012-06-24 10:50:58 AM

Aar1012: Whenever I would hear about the sales tax of Mass, I would shake my head since I knew that the 6.25% sales tax was NOTHING compared to my home state of Ohio. Ohio's state rate is 5.5% but the counties can add on to it. I'm surprised that Mass hasn't caught onto that.


Doesn't Boston do this?
 
2012-06-24 10:55:10 AM
csb: When I lived in Austin TX, I got a ticket I thought was unjust and I took it to court. They dismissed immediately on 'lack of evidence'. Next ticket I got, same result...dismissed on lack of evidence. I got a lot of tickets for whatever reason...speed traps, I suck, who knows. But I took every one to court - probably a dozen in the 12 years I lived there - and every one was dismissed without a fight on lack of evidence. In fact, all the other people in the courtrooms with me got their speeding tickets dismissed as well. I don't know if it still works like that down there but it was fun while it lasted. My coworkers were always amused with the collection of tickets and dismissals that I kept tacked to my cube.
 
2012-06-24 10:55:15 AM
Eh... Cost me $25 to beat a $100 traffic violation last year.

Helped that I have a near-perfect driving record and that ticket was the only ticket I've received in 20+ years of driving, of course.

What pissed me off more than the fee to contest it was having to sit in New Bedford Trail Court for 4 hours waiting to meet with a court clerk and the ticketing officer to contest it...
 
2012-06-24 10:56:12 AM
The solution is to require government at all levels to fund itself 100% through tax revenue (and make it illegal for the government to borrow money).

All non-tax income sources need to be kept in a separate fund and distributed back to the taxpayers as a credit.

This will prevent the corruption that is inevitable if law enforcement is preformed for profit.
 
2012-06-24 10:56:48 AM

walkerhound: [media.masslive.com image 640x351]

CSB:

Ran into something similar in Fort Collins a few years ago. I had backed into a street-side parking space. Got out of work to find a $25 ticket for illegal parking - my front tire was more than a foot from the curb. No shiat, I backed in because it was safer when pulling out into the crazy traffic zooming by the frat house. And just about every other car parked "legally" on the street had a front tire more than a foot from the curb. Plead my case to the city judge's biatch (a $25 surcharge for that) two weeks later - he said he agreed it was safer but that was the law. Said I could go to the judge but I'd have to pay a $50 surcharge for court costs, but the judge might dismiss the $25 ticket.

/keep us $afe.


Sounds like a municipal ordinance. There has never been a municipal fine other than "you owe us more money to live/work/visit here, and we want you to prostrate yourself before us for forgiveness." Parking enforcement is the worst, with code enforcement and the permit process being the next, if you aren't part of the inside network.
 
2012-06-24 10:59:24 AM

RembrandtQEinstein: The solution is to require government at all levels to fund itself 100% through tax revenue (and make it illegal for the government to borrow money).

All non-tax income sources need to be kept in a separate fund and distributed back to the taxpayers as a credit.

This will prevent the corruption that is inevitable if law enforcement is preformed for profit.


All this leads to is gouging out-of-towners and subversives they want to move out. Given that most towns already do that routinely out of plain old xenophobia, what good would attaching a profit motive do?
 
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